Circle premieres dark drama from down under
Luke Renn and Katherine Keberlin in rehearsal for "When the Rain Stops Falling" at the Circle Theatre in Oak Park. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
‘When the Rain Stops Falling’
Circle Theatre, 1010 Madison St., Oak Park
Previews, 8 p.m. April 28 and May 1; Opens 8 p.m. May 2; Regular run: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays, May 4-June 17
Previews: $15; Regular run: $24-$28, $26 for students/seniors; group rates are available
(708) 660-9540 or see www.circle-theatre.org
Updated: April 24, 2012 7:45PM
“It’s about a family crisis, it’s about communicating between husbands and wives or sons and in that as its basis, is completely universal,” said John Gawlik, director of “When the Rain Stops Falling,” having its Chicago premiere at Circle Theatre in Oak Park.
Written by Australian playwright Andrew Bovell, it’s a mysterious, rather dark family drama that unravels through time and space, jumping backwards and forwards as it spans years from 1959 to 2039, from London to Australia tracking four generations of one family where devastating acts of the past continue to impact each new generation. The drama was named Time Magazine’s Best New Play of 2010.
“The structure is so wonderful and precise and at the same time I think it’s challenging,” said Gawlik, a Chicago resident, who also serves as artistic director of Fox Valley Repertory.
“It’s challenging for us as the cast working together on it and I think it’s going to be a wonderful challenge for the audience with it as well,” he said. “Coming to it is going to be something they haven’t seen before. Not just the piece, but how it kind of opens up.”
Describing it as “something very dark but also beautifully moving,” Gawlik explains that the show rolls out like a mystery. The audience will be required to think carefully, and eventually they will understand how all the scenes fit together.
“It’ll be very interesting to see what the audience takes away from it,” he said. “I think it’s going to be great to see when people start clicking in and seeing the connection between the different eras come together.”
Because “Rain” is a new work to the Chicago area, Gawlik is directing with no preconceptions of how the play should work, which he feels is a wonderful, creative experience.
Among the nine-person cast, Grayslake’s Anita Hoffman will appear in her 10th performance with Circle Theatre, playing the role of the older version of Gabrielle York, a woman who has faced a tough life of loved ones lost and other hardships. Throughout the play, she works through some of the pain.
Hoffman, usually in musicals, says her goal is to make the dark character on stage as real as possible for the audience. “It’s just a real journey into darker places that you don’t always go to,” she said. “I do a lot of musicals and those are usually light, fluffy emotions that run through them. This thing has really pushed a lot of the dark side that you don’t usually use. So this has been interesting.”
Ripples of interest
The beauty of the show, Hoffman adds, is the way it unfolds as the “ripples in the pool are revealed.”
Mary Redmon plays the older version of Elizabeth Law, an unexpressive woman with good intentions, but who instead, ultimately hurts her family as well as herself.
Redmon describes the role as difficult, saying her character differs from herself. Not spoiling the ending while acting the part is also a challenge she explains she faces.
“I think the play is very unique in terms of the way it is written and the way it’s presented,” said Redmon, a resident of Willow Springs. “The sins of the father are visited on every generation and every generation and every generation until finally it’s put right. I really think it’s going to knock people back on their feet once they realize what the story is and kind of go with the flow and start to figure it out.”